Texas Rangers

Daniels’ postgame clarification aside, Perez knows his future with Rangers is in doubt

Martin Perez’s season was derailed early by an off-season injury to his right elbow and on Wednesday when he was told that he will be finishing the season in the bullpen.
Martin Perez’s season was derailed early by an off-season injury to his right elbow and on Wednesday when he was told that he will be finishing the season in the bullpen. Special to the Star-Telegram

The Texas Rangers players who were on the field the past two games probably aren’t going to miss the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the bean counters at Rangers world headquarters probably will.

Dodgers fans came out of the wood works the past two nights and provided the two largest crowds of the month at Globe Life Park. Presumably, they paid for parking and bought hot dogs, nachos and ice cold alcoholic beverages.

Next up: The Minnesota Twins. Boy, that ought to really bring in the fans.

But these three games shouldn’t be dismissed. They’re important to the Rangers, who are five wins shy of avoiding a 100-loss season. Granted, the Rangers have 28 games remaining, and slightly more than half are against clubs below .500.

The Twins snapped a four-game losing streak Wednesday night. Meanwhile, the Rangers’ losing streak hit four.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 3-1 loss.

1. That wasn’t an ordinary postgame.

Manager Jeff Banister informed the media that left-hander Martin Perez had been moved to the bullpen (and that Yovani Gallardo is starting Saturday). The left-hander was available Wednesday night.

Perez then informed the media that the Rangers weren’t picking up the $7.5 million option for 2019, though they might try to sign him for less in the off-season.

(It would appear that the decision opens a spot for Yohander Mendez or some other potential starter for 2019).

General manager Jon Daniels then informed the media that they told Perez “as of today” they wouldn’t be picking up the option, but “it’s possible we could still work something out for him to continue his career here.”

Yeah, they’re not picking up the option. Not as of today, not in October, not in November. It’s not getting picked up.

The Rangers, Daniels and Banister said, really think that Perez could be a terrific reliever. Did they just stumble upon this revelation? It’s not like Perez hasn’t been the same inconsistent starter since, oh, his entire career.

Besides, the last time Daniels forked over that kind of money for a reliever was for Joe Nathan after the 2011 season to become the closer. The market has changed quite a bit since then, and Daniels is still pinching bullpen pennies.

If Perez turns into a splendid reliever, someone the Rangers would like to have, it seems another team would, too, and might even pay more? It’s possible another team might want him as a starter.

It’s possible that Perez is back next season. It just doesn’t seem likely.

2. Mike Minor struck out seven batters in six innings and allowed only two hits. Unfortunately for him, each was a home run.

But it was another nice outing for the left-hander, who was riding a four-start winning streak. He has lowered his ERA from 4.89 to 4.40 in six second-half starts.

And there’s something else to consider: He’s the front-runner to be the Rangers’ Opening Day starter next season.

Of course, there aren’t a ton options. In fact, he’s the only starting pitcher under contract for 2019. Ariel Jurado is a pre-arbitration player, but he’s also not a lock for the rotation, and Perez’s days appeared to be numbered.

The leash will be off by Minor next season. His pitch counts and innings will be allowed to mount after one season of starts under his belt for the first time since 2013. His stuff has been really good.

“We’ve seen what he’s done this year for us and the progression and the trend,” Banister said. “I think he’s gained some strength as the year has progressed, and I think the program he has been on has been beneficial for him.

“It’s important for us and for him to continue that trend. You’ve got to believe that this is in his mind a great confidence for him to know that he’s back on track as a starter and that his stuff plays very well in that role.”

Minor said that his ability to mix his pitches, including a changeup he has started to throw more, and an ability to work both side of the plate have helped him in the second half.

He wants to stay in his groove over the final month, when he should make five more starts. He’s the front-runner to start Game No. 1 next season.

“Pretty much I want to stay consistent with what I have been doing,” he said. “I’ve had some pretty good games, so just build off of that.”

3. The waiver trading period is coming to a close, with the clock ticking toward Friday’s deadline, and it appears that Adrian Beltre won’t be going anywhere.

He said on Wednesday that he had not received any offers to consider, and that’s understandable considering he’s playing on one leg after a third strain this season of his left hamstring.

The assumption, as the Rangers can’t confirm such things, is that Beltre cleared revocable waivers and can be dealt to any team. The same assumption goes for Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus and all the others the Rangers put on waivers.

But their most tradable asset might be Cory Gearrin, the reliever who was in their July trade with the San Francisco Giants. He’s been very good, having allowed only two earned runs since July 30, and since joining the Rangers (2.53 ERA).

Contenders are always looking for relief help, and injuries have bitten a few. The Dodgers are said to be one of them.

It seems unlikely that Gearrin would have gotten through waivers during his current hot stretch. Maybe he was claimed, but the Rangers pulled him back. The Rangers might have sneaked Gearrin through waivers early in August, before he started his current role, and maybe they’re just waiting for the right bid.

Gearrin, though, is under control through next season, and the Rangers are still planning to field a team for 2019. It might not be a contending team, but they need quality relievers to help them win the games they can.

Gearrin has been that since the Rangers added him.

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